Romesha, a Minot, N.D. resident, will receive the Medal of Honor for his actions at the battle of Combat Outpost Keating, Afghanistan, on Oct. 3, 2009.
Romesha will be presented the nation’s highest military honor by
President Barack Obama at the White House on Monday, Feb. 11. The time
of the presentation is currently scheduled for 12:30 p.m. (CST). Please
check the White House schedule for any time changes.
On Tuesday, Feb. 12, he will be inducted into the Pentagon’s “Hall of
Heroes” in Washington, D.C. The ceremony, scheduled for 3 p.m. (CST),
is expected to be broadcast (Watch it live) on the Pentagon Channel and streamed live via their website.
Time for a C-Gar!
11 Facts About Medal of Honor Recipient Clinton Romesha
Here are 11 facts about Romesha, including the details of his heroic actions on that day:
1. He took out an enemy machine gun team.
Profiled in former ABC News correspondent Jake Tapper’s book, The Outpost, Tapper describes Romesha as “an intense guy, short and wiry.” Under attack at Keating, Romesha immediately retaliated:
“(The) staff sergeant moved under intense enemy fire to reconnoiter
the battlefield and seek reinforcements from the barracks before
returning to action with the support of an assistant gunner,” according
to the Army Times.
According to his citation, Romesha “took out an enemy machine gun team.”
2. He was wounded trying to take out a second one.
After taking out the first machine gun team, and while Romesha was
working on taking out a second team, “the generator he was using for
cover was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade, inflicting him with
shrapnel wounds,” according to the citation.
“I have been able to walk through airport security without tripping anything,” he told the Grand Forks Herald.
“What I got injured with wasn’t nothing. I have buddies who lost their
eyesight, who lost limbs. For that, I would rather give them all the
credit they deserve for the sacrifices they made. For me, it was
nothing. I got a little peppered.”
3. After he was injured, he led a five-man team and returned to combat.
Romesha exposed himself to enemy fire and began mobilizing a group of soldiers. Here’s how Tapper describes it:
But enough Taliban get inside the camp that the men of
Black Knight Troop, 3-61 CAV, begin pulling back and holding on to a few
buildings, ceding their own camp to the enemy. Romesha does not accept
“We need to retake this f—ing camp and drive the f—ing Taliban out!” he says.
He runs to Red Platoon barracks.
“We’re about to take this bitch back,” he announced. “I need a f—ing
group of volunteers.” He got them: Thomas Rasmussen, Mark Dulaney, Josh
Dannelley, Chris Jones, and Matthew Miller. They knew they were going to
be utterly and completely outgunned, but they had no other option.
4. He directed air support to destroy a critical enemy point of attack.
The Army Times:
As the enemy attacked the COP with even “greater
ferocity, unleashing a barrage of rocket-propelled grenades and
recoilless rifle rounds,” Romesha “identified the point of attack and
directed air support to destroy over 30 enemy fighters.”
5. He provided cover fire for wounded soldiers and moved 100 yards under fire to retrieve them.
Romesha speaks at a news conference alongside his wife, Tammy, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, in Minot, N.D. (AP)
The Grand Fork Herald:
He led an effort to cover wounded soldiers so they could
get back to an aid station and led a team 100 yards under “withering
fire” to recover the bodies of some of the eight American soldiers
killed that day.
6. He kept his sense of humor and calm throughout all of this.
As Tapper describes in The Outpost:
Romesha ran up to the vehicle under enemy fire.
“This doesn’t look good,” Romesha said. “We’re all going to die.”
He laughed — he had a pretty dark sense of humor, Romesha. “You okay?”
Koppes looked at him. Bullets were ricocheting off the truck right
next to him, but the staff sergeant just stood there looking back at
Koppes, smiling the whole time.
Holy shit, he’s lost his mind, the specialist thought.
“Yeah, I’m good,” Koppes finally replied. “I still got this sniper behind me.”
“Okay, stay low and hang tight,” Romesha told him.
At that moment, the sniper shot at Romesha, who then ducked behind
the Humvee and began playing peekaboo with the enemy, trying to draw him
out so he could see exactly where he was firing from. He decided that
the Taliban fighter was midway up on the Northface, so he fired the
Dragunov [rifle] at the spot.
Then he turned and airily announced to Koppes, “All right, I’m going to head out.”
7. He’s the fourth living soldier to receive the Medal of Honor based on service in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Romesha will become the 11th recipient of the Medal of Honor since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan began.
8. He’s a husband and a father and comes from a military family.
Romesha and his wife, Tammy, have two daughters aged 11 and four and a son who is 18 months old.
“Every deployment I had I knew was going to be something hard and I knew I had great family support back home,” he told the Grand Forks Herald.
“And when it came time to get out and make that transition, for me that
chapter in my life had closed. And I was able to compartmentalize and
understand that this is the future and I have to move on.”
Romesha’s grandfather served in World War II, his father served in Vietnam, and he has brothers who have served in the Army, Air Force, and Marines.
9. He now works in North Dakota for an oil company.
Romesha enlisted in 1999 and
deployed to Kosovo and twice to Iraq before his deployment to
Afghanistan. He left the Army in 2011 as a staff sergeant and now works
in North Dakota where he oversees safety and security procedures for KS Industries, an oil company.
10. He’s Mormon.
Romesha is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and his parents hoped he would become a church leader, according to Tapper.
11. He had an impressive mustache when he was in Afghanistan.